How to Make a Decorative Lighting Panel

A decorative lighting panel can be customized to ensure that the resulting product is of your preference. The decorative quality of the panel gives an interesting visual effect to the room, once it is installed. Because of the added visual effects, these panels are sold at a relatively higher price than ordinary light panels. Luckily, they can be made out of simple materials, that can be bought from a home improvement store.

Tools and Materials

  • Paintbrush
  • Acrylic lighting panels
  • Acrylic paints
  • Ladder
  • Utility knife
  • Straight edge
  • Tape measure
  • Design template
  • Translucent decals

Step 1 – Purchase Plastic Panels

Determine the dimension of the panels required. Climb up the ladder and measure the opening on the light panel frame. If there is a light panel already installed, remove it from the frame, and use its dimensions to determine the size of the decorative panels to be made.

Purchase the required panels from a home improvement store, or an online store. The panels are sold in either 2x4 or 2x2 foot pieces. Be sure that the panels are made of acrylic material. Although other types of panels, such as polystyrene, can be used, acrylic offers the best quality. Polystyrene panels usually turn yellowish after years of use.

Step 2 – Cut the Panels to Size

Companies selling the panels can cut them into size usually for free. This is the best option, because cutting these materials requires proper care. A mistake in cutting is a waste of good material, and money. However, you may also cut it on your own, as long as proper cutting procedures are observed.

Lay the panel on a flat clean surface. Mark the dimensions of the panel with a pencil. Cover the pencil marks with masking tape. Align the straight edge with the marked line. Press the straight edge firmly, while scoring the length of the line with a utility knife. Transfer the straight edge to the next marked line and score it with the knife. Snap the panel and smooth the rough edges with sandpaper.

Step 3 – Paint Decorative Images

Plan the design for the panels before painting them. Make use of design templates, to create ready-made designs. Determine which side of the panel goes underneath the light bulb, and paint on that side. Choose a background color, and use a paint roller to apply that color to the whole surface of the panel. To create the details of the design, use hand brushes of different sizes. Allow the paint to dry completely.

Step 4 – Install Translucent Decals

If you are not a very artistic type of person, and want to create decorative lighting panels without fear of producing an ugly result, install translucent decals on the surface of the panels instead. Purchase decals of any designed preferred, and plan out the layout. As soon as the decals are ready to install, wipe the surface of the panels with a damp cloth. Peel off the paper on the backside of the decals, and stick them to the panels, according to manufacturer’s instructions. Install the panels.